BOSTON — It sounded like October. The sharp crack as Giancarlo Stanton slammed the first pitch he saw was loud and important. The eruption from half of the sold-out crowd at Fenway as the ball flew over the Green Monster, the seats on the Monster and onto Lansdowne Street for a game-deciding grand slam in the top of the eighth was like a playoff roar.
If the Yankees are going to make noise in the postseason next month, it will be in large part because of Stanton. He hit his second grand slam of the season to lift the Yankees to a 5-3 win over the Red Sox.
Coming up against lefty Darwinzon Hernandez with the bases loaded and two outs and the Yankees trailing 2-1, it was one of the biggest, most meaningful hits of Stanton’s career with the Yankees. The 452-foot home run changed the entire outlook of the weekend and perhaps the postseason for the Yankees.
The Yankees (88-67) are now tied with the Red Sox for the top American League wild-card spot — which means the right to host the game on Oct. 5. They have a 2.5 game lead over the Blue Jays, who were playing later Saturday night. The Red Sox (88-67) have six straight games against losing teams to close out the season after Sunday night’s finale here. The Yankees have three against the Blue Jays in Toronto and three against the Rays in the Bronx.
The Yankees had struggled to get anything going offensively before that and the first two hitters in the eighth went down quickly. Then Brett Gardner battled back from 1-2 to work a walk off Tanner Houck. Aaron Judge walked before Red Sox manager Alex Cora went to the lefty to face left-handed hitter Anthony Rizzo. Hernandez hit Rizzo to load the bases. With the three-batter minimum rule, Cora was stuck and had to keep the lefty in to face Stanton.
It was his 33rd home run of the season, his second in as many nights and the seventh in his last 13 games. Since Aug. 1, around when he began playing in the outfield again, Stanton has hit 17 homers and driven in 45 runs. In high-leverage situations, Stanton is hitting .302 with a .583 slugging percentage, according to YES Network researchers.
Nick Pivetta held the Yankees to a run on three hits through 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven.
The Yankees finally got to him in the sixth. Gio Urshela lined a one-out single to get things started. He advanced on Gardner’s double, which finally chased Pivetta out of the game.
The first pitch by former Mets reliever Hansel Robles was yanked wide, allowing Urshela to slide safely across for the first run.
The Yankees tried to bring the tying run in on Judge’s hard-hit grounder to third base, but Rafael Devers made a perfect throw and Kevin Plawecki held his ground to tag out Gardner. It was the Yankees’ major league-leading 22nd out at home plate this season.
In the seventh, Stanton and Joey Gallo led off with back-to-back walks when Gleyber Torres grounded into their 148th double play of the season. That’s second only to the Washington Nationals.
Gary Sanchez swung through on Houck’s 86-mile an hour slider with Stanton on third to end the inning.
But the Red Sox bullpen is in shambles and with Stanton and Judge in the lineup there is always the potential for a dramatic swing.
Luis Severino worked two scoreless innings, locking down the lead Stanton handed him in the bottom of the eighth. He struck out four, walked one and drilled Devers. He earned his first win since 2019.
Nestor Cortes didn’t get the win, but he was solid and kept the Yankees in position to come back.
The lefty gave up a solo home run and was charged with another run after giving up back-to-back singles to the bottom of the Red Sox order with one out in the fifth. He did not walk a batter, gave up four hits and struck out four.
Plawecki, the former Mets prospect, hammered a one-out solo shot off the light tower in left field in the third. His single in the fifth helped the Red Sox manufacture another run on Devers’ single.
While Stanton’s homer quieted the Red Sox fans, Aroldis Chapman woke them up in the ninth by giving up a solo shot to Bobby Dalbec and then hitting Plawecki on the top of the foot with a 98-mph fastball, before retiring the last two hitters.